What Benefits Can I Receive?
Below are the benefits for 2013 if you are over age 65 or fully and permanently disabled.
- Veteran only - up to $1,732/month.
- Surviving spouse of a veteran - up to $1,113/month.
- Veteran and spouse living together - up to $2,054/month.
- Two veterans married to each other - up to $2,676/month.
- If the veteran is healthy but their spouse requires care, then the veteran qualifies for $1,360/month for the spouse.
The benefits are paid out monthly, paid directly to the veteran or spouse, increase yearly, and are tax free.
The Aid and Attendance benefit (improved pension) is one of the most misunderstood benefits being administered by the Veterans Administration (VA) today. Many families who attempt to complete the lengthy application put down incorrect information and miss many of the detailed supporting documents that are needed by the VA. This leads to delays, denials and frustration, causing many families to give up. We hear over and over, " We wish we had heard about your services before we tried to do it ourselves! " We also hear, " Why didn’t the _________ service give us this information? Shouldn’t they know about it? " Of course they should, but they don’t.
This improved pension benefit has been around since 1951, but because of the multi-faceted requirements needed when applying a lot of misinformation is being put out over the internet and passed around in communities all over the United States. We run across veterans and/or their spouses daily that have been told they don't or can't qualify when actually they do.
Because of the extremely high (and increasing) workload of all VA offices, their representatives can only provide the basic requirements of the benefits. Many people are told they are not qualified when in fact they can and do qualify. The key is asking the right questions. Our offices have already asked the right questions and we would like to share that knowledge with you. Our highly trained advisors have shared this information with hundreds of veterans and their spouses throughout the tri-state area.
The confusion begins with the VA terminology and ends with the mind-boggling task of knowing what forms need to be completed, in what level of detail, and with what type of documentation that is considered acceptable for a determination. To take the time on this website to give you all of the information needed for every possible scenario would be impossible. So to help families get the correct basic information on benefits and qualification, we conduct free informational seminars to relay this information on what is needed before applying. If families want a customized review of the veteran or spouse's personal situation, we will provide a 1 hour, no cost, no obligation time to answer all personal questions that you may not want to be brought up in a group environment.
Before applying, Veteran’s Benefit Advisors sends a letter to open a file in the claimant’s name. This will trigger your "start date." The VA will pay your benefit retroactively back to your “start date.” Then, we start to gather the needed documentation. This can add a month or two of benefits to your 1st payment from the VA (instead of getting everything together first and then sending in the application). The claimant also must be financially qualified before applying, meaning their income and assets must be within the qualification limits before applying.
Required Forms and Papers
- Military separation papers form DD-214. The VA is now requiring a certified copy or an original in most cases. If you don’t have this, we recommend that you order a copy from the National Archives. To request a copy visit http://www.archives.gov/veterans/. You can also request a copy using Standard Form 180. It is typical for them to tell you that many records were lost in the St Louis fire of 1973. However, in most cases, they will eventually be able to provide you with a valid certificate of service.
- Married veterans and surviving spouses will need to provide a copy of your marriage certificate.
spouses will need to provide a copy of the veteran's death certificate.
- A copy of your current Social Security Award letter. This shows the monthly amount of your Social Security benefit. Additionally, if you get a monthly statement from a private pension program, it is best to provide it as well, although many claims get approved without these documents.
- If you are a court-appointed guardian of the applicant, you will need to provide a copy of the court order.
- A copy of your monthly health insurance bill as well as your home care, assisted living, or nursing home bill if paid out-of-pocket and not reimbursed by a long term care insurance policy or Medicaid. This list should also include ALL of your Un-reimbursed Medical Expenses (UME’s), which can include; prescriptions, diabetic supplies, incontinence supplies, health insurance premiums, etc.
- A physician statement that provides all information about your diagnosis, your current medical status, the prognosis, travel ability, and your ability to care for yourself and your need for assistance with activities of daily living (ADL’s).
- You will need to have a list of doctors and hospitals you have visited in the past year.
- You will need to provide a voided check for direct deposit of the monthly payment. The benefit is paid directly to the claimant the way their Social Security benefits are paid.
When you have gathered all of the supporting documents, you will need to complete VA Form 21-526 for veterans or a VA Form 21-534 for surviving spouses.
Follow the instructions on the form and submit the entire packet to one of the VA's Pension Maintenance centers. To learn where to submit your application, call the VA at 1-800-827-1000. If you need help, the VA and many service organizations such as the VFW or American Legion can provide assistance. Some representatives of these organizations are well versed and willing to help, others are not. Be prepared to seek out alternative help if you feel you are not getting good advice. A word of caution, it is illegal for anyone — including attorneys — to charge for assistance with an initial claim for benefits.
Once your forms and documents are submitted, the next step is to wait. You should receive a letter from the VA within 45-90 days acknowledging receipt of the application and providing the claimants VA file number. After that, you should expect correspondence every 60-90 days. If you don't receive it, call the VA to make sure they still have your claim, as some get lost and copies of the original claim need to be resubmitted. It is not uncommon for claims to take six to nine months. After about six months, you may consider getting your Congressperson involved.
Yes, the Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit application process is extensive, but it is worth it. $1,094 - $2,019 per month will go a long way towards providing you, your loved one, or your friend, the necessary care they deserve.
There is no cost or obligation to speak with someone from Veterans Benefit Advisors. We help qualified Veterans and/or their Spouses, be in a position to qualify before application, for these VA benefits. We help our clients qualify as per the VA regulations for income and asset ownership.
Veterans who have too many assets can reposition assets to qualify for the Aid and Attendance benefit, but repositioning incorrectly can disqualify the claimant from receiving Medical Assistance/Medicaid benefits for Skilled Nursing Care in the future.
Most people who try to reposition the Veteran’s assets on their own, will disqualify the Veteran from the above benefits for Skilled Nursing Care in the future, if the care is needed within Medicaid’s 5 year lookback period.
Veterans Benefit Advisors has helped many Veterans and/or their spouses qualify for their VA Aid and Attendance benefit without disqualifying the Veteran from future Medicaid Benefits. We believe that any Veteran should qualify for whatever benefits are available. We will do what we can to help our client’s qualify for their much deserved benefit.
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